Some aspects of life are so linear. There are things which cannot be relived, there are experiences which can only be had once. The special euphoria associated with the first time doesn’t return on repeated occurrence. Knowledge is one criminal to this dilemma, the amount of which is increasing linearly, and it brings with it a while array of implications. It accumulates the wisdom and somewhat complicates it. Knowledge is an enigma in itself , it’s bestowing and taking, it encourages and discourages, it quenches and hungers, it solves and complicates, it speaks and silences. Experience is another Enigma ; there’s an urge to have an experience but then to have it with the same intensity again which is not possible. The experience takes away what was unknown and replaces it with a set of feelings, memories, scents and melodies. Post which there is nostalgia combining the same feelings, memories, scents and melodies , but the same experience can never be had again at-least not with the initial magnitude. Once the experience is had , it becomes a distant occurring which you want to touch but can never again. It is in the moment that experience and knowledge change everything. They deposit and take away. They give for a moment and deprive for a lifetime.
The urge for knowledge can be irresistible. But knowledge is a rather unfathomable ocean, in its breadth and its depth. I can find myself , at times, diving too deep and ignoring the bigger picture, and at times flying too high to get the real sense of any dimension. It can seem like an impossible trade-off, with only one certain outcome which is the inevitability of my ignorance. As important it is for me to learn consciously with a set direction, it is equally important, if not more, that I realise and to some level commit to what I cannot learn. This is by virtue of limitations of my finite term in sheer contrast with the infinity of sea of knowledge.
We’ve all spent our tiny but scary moments of turbulence 30,000 feet above sea level. This was slightly more than a normal turbulence. People started tumbling and falling and this scarier than normal passage lasted for 5 minutes. As I normally would, rather than focusing on myself, started observing people. The response was divided. There was this sense of laughter that goes with seeing others tumble. There were prayers of safety. There were those who weren’t touched by this at all, they’d carry on as per usual. I was scared and observant. I had one eye on the flight info, which was showing the altitude, and as we maintained the altitude I felt calm. I was also looking at the landscape cam to see what’s below and immediately thinking if there were any airports nearby for an emergency landing. And I was also observing. I wasn’t focused, but I was sharp. I also wanted to calm those who were particularly worries. Perhaps, that tells alot about me. Perhaps our response to these relay important signs about strengths and weaknesses. I guess it’d be interesting to conduct such a behavioral experiment. It’d also be insightful to know what takes for the ethos to be divided with staggered responses to a unified scare of death. Even the unified scare would perhaps have its continuum. Those who’d feel ready, those who’d not. Gravity of happenings can unite us to some extent at least at some primitive level. But it’s not the normality that brings that unity. It’s the unusual happenings, and those too of some serious gravity.
I have been to churches numerous times in my life. But, this one was different, where I attended a church to pray for world peace together.‘Week of Prayer for World Peace’ is an annual initiative which began in 1974 to draw people of different faiths together to pray for a greater peace in the world. In the towns of Newbury & Thatcham, we took this week as an excellent opportunity to emphasise how we all part of one human family. In an attempt to do so, local Christians attended Muslim Friday prayers and local Muslims attended a Christian Sunday church service to stand in solidarity together and to pray for greater understanding and peace in the world. Read more
As per a survey conducted by UN in 2005, there were about 100 million people homeless worldwide. And according to another estimate, a total of 1.6 billion people worldwide reside in inadequate shelter; that’s more than the population of the whole of China. And I research these numbers from the comfort of my modern day home, with all the basic amenities and more. I feel sinful when I realize that I have unused room in my house, and there a 100 million people on the mother earth who sleep under no shade. I feel gutted, and my comfort seems wrong. And then, I think of those who have carved spacious palaces, with hundreds and thousands of spare rooms. I find my crime less grave when put to test with such examples. And then, I think of governments with magnanimous budgets and I feel even more insignificant. The guilt disappears, is replaced by a feeling of helplessness.
The first webinar was held on 31st January. I received excellent feedback. It was attended by people from Saudi Arabia, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Finland, Netherlands and USA. I’m going to organise several webinars every year. Fill out below to register your interest.
West Berkshire Peace and Integration Forum has been organizing Shared Meal evenings for many years now. These evenings present a valuable opportunity to socialize with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, religions, age groups etc. Following the same theme, on Sunday 6th December about forty people from in and around Newbury and Thatcham gathered to celebrate variety of opinions and food.
History of philosophy often starts with the Greeks. Luc ferry (2011:17) states that ‘most historians agree that philosophy first saw the light of day in Greece, sometime around the sixth century BC’. The pre Hellenistic philosophical exercise in the east by the followers of Abrahamic religions, Vedic and Pre-Vedic religions, Zoroastrianism etc. are ignored perhaps because in the philosophical literature faith is seen in contrast to wisdom / reason, and philosophy is translated as the love of wisdom. Secondly, there are no written accounts of philosophical exercise, during the time of Moses or his descendants. The Dead Sea scrolls are the oldest manuscripts available for the Old Testament and they have been dated back to 250 BC only. Furthermore, there is lot of scepticism as to when the Old Testament finally took its current form after going through various transformations over the ages. Similar reasons can be applied to other pre historic religions. Nevertheless, for someone deeply engrossed in the act of philosophizing, the struggle of overcoming one’s primitive fears, it is truly saddening that the development of thoughts in primitive man is ignored.
About four years ago, in Newbury England, local Muslim, evangelical and progressive (PCN) Christian, Quaker, and other friends came together to found the Forum. Beliefs differ considerably, but participants have a common heart for community building. Initiatives have varied from meetings on topics like Forgiveness, Social Conditioning, and Extremism; to ‘bring and share meals’ and a cricket match. The organisation was named the West Berkshire Peace and Integration Forum. Read more